How IGCs are managing stores during the coronavirus outbreak

How IGCs are managing stores during the coronavirus outbreak

With the future uncertain, many retailers are opting to stay open, but with heavy sanitation protocols in place.

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Across North America, IGCs are handling the coronavirus in different ways, and many are sharing announcements for their plans across their websites and social media pages. As of March 16, many federal and state governments have called for social distancing crackdowns, per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in an effort to stop the global spread. As of March 15, the CDC has proposed that for the next 8 weeks, “organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”

What does this mean for IGCs that conduct business entirely face-to-face? If you’re at a loss, here’s what some retailers across the U.S. are doing. Garden Center magazine will update this post as we hear back from other garden centers.

  • Pesche’s, located in Des Plaines, Illinois, issued a statement from owner Chris Pesche on its homepage announcing it will remain open, but that the situation is being monitored. Per his statement, all floral orders can be carried out online or via phone, and floral deliveries will be distributed as scheduled. Additionally, Pesche’s will offer discounts on home delivery charges for items typically bought in-store, such as plants, soil or compost. Read more here.

  • Wayland Winter Farmers Market at Russell’s Garden Center, located in Wayland, Massachusetts, continued with its planned farmers market but held the event outdoors. The move was done in order to “provide healthy food and support our vendors,” said market manager Peg Mallett. Read more here.

  • Kennedy’s Country Garden, located in Scituate, Massachusetts, sent an industry-wide email to customers saying it will remain open. The IGC will keep its doors open to avoid the touching of knobs, set up a handwashing station, wipe surfaces down in accordance with CDC standards and keep sterile gloves and wipes on hand near the cart area for customers to use as needed. Read more here.

  • Dothan Nurseries, located in Dothan, Alabama, sent an email to its customers saying its employees are happy to deliver items to their cars or homes. Read more here.

  • The Sill, an online plant retailer with brick-and-mortar locations in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, announced that it will close all of its stores on March 16, and that they will not reopen earlier than March 28. Customers can still order plants online, and the company is hosting online classes for the time being. Read more here.

  • Baker’s Acres, located in Alexandria, Ohio, will remain open, but announced it will take precautions laid out by the state government and the CDC. The IGC said it will also eliminate credit card signing for the entire season, along with stepping up sanitation protocols. Read more here.

  • Weston Nurseries, which has two locations — Hopkinton and Chelmsford — in Massachusetts, announced on its homepage that it will remain open, but will be canceling all upcoming events and programs “for the foreseeable future.” The IGC noted it would be diligent in cleaning surfaces and will be monitoring protocols from the state, the CDC and WHO. Read more here.
  • March 18, 4:36 p.m. EST: Hicks Nurseries, located in Long Island, New York, closed down completely on March 16 until March 29. The decision arrived four days after the opening of its 30th anniversary garden show, which opened on March 12. According to a spokesperson, Hicks Nurseries will post a virtual tour of its "Celebrations Around the World" garden show on its Facebook page and website. Read more here.

How is your IGC handling the coronavirus outbreak? Let us know at kspirgen@gie.net.